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Aluminum cooking pot used by a Greek Jewish family

Object | Accession Number: 2009.354.1

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    Aluminum cooking pot used by a Greek Jewish family

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Cooking pot used by Claire Elhai when she lived in hiding with her family in the Greek countryside from 1943-1944. Nazi Germany and the Axis powers occupied Greece in 1941. Claire, her husband, Jacob, and their infant daughter Elvira lived in Athens which was in the German zone. In September 1943, Italy, an Axis partner, surrendered to the Allies. Jacob decided it was no longer safe for Jews in Athens and went to the Greek police station and explained that he needed false identity cards as Christians for his family. The police supplied them. With the help of friends, Jacob traveled to the Peloponnesian countryside and found a village, Korinthos, where he settled and sent for his family. They later moved to another village where they lived until the Germans retreated from Greece in September 1944. The family returned to Athens. Clare's father died while being transported to Auschwitz and many of Jacob's relatives in Heraklion were killed during the war.
    Date
    use:  approximately 1943-1951
    emigration:  1951
    Geography
    use: in hiding; Corinth (Greece)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Elvira Sasson
    Contributor
    Subject: Claire Elhai
    Subject: Elvira Sasson
    Biography
    Claire Jesurun (later Elhai) was born on October 5, 1914, in Turkey to Moises and Dona Jesurun. She was the eldest of eight children: Gilda, Renee, Rosa, Judy, Joseph, Suldana, Ralph, and Lilly, who died at age two before the war. Claire married Jacob Elhai, a barber, in Athens, Greece, on April 15, 1940. Jacob was born on January 17, 1914, in Heraklion, Crete. They settled in Athens, and had their first child, Elvira, on November 26, 1942. The family did not strictly follow religious ritual, but did observe the major Jewish holidays.

    The Axis powers occupied Greece in 1941; Athens was occupied by the Germans. When Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, Jacob went to the Greek police station and explained that he was Jewish and needed false identity cards for himself and his family, which the police supplied. A friend of Jacob’s, Michael Prionistis told him to go to Piraeus and contact his friend John Houstakis. Jacob told Houstakis that he wanted to go into hiding. The two travelled together by train to Peloponnesus. At the Isthmus of Corinth bridge control point, a Greek policeman became suspicious because John did not have a travel permit. Houstakis and other passengers intervened, perhaps bribing the policeman, and they were able to continue on their journey. They arrived in Klenis, Korinthos, a small village. Jacob found a job on a farm and, as advised, did not tell the owners he was Jewish but that he was in hiding because he had killed a German. There was no barber in the town, so Jacob opened a barbershop. Once he was settled in Kórinthos, Claire and Elvira joined him. After a while, Jacob decided it was not safe enough in Korinthos and they moved to Hiliomidi, where Jacob also opened a barbershop. After the Germans retreated from Greece in the fall of 1944, the family decided to return to Athens. They told their neighbors in Korinthos that they were Jewish; some said they had seemed different but they did not want to scare them by saying anything. They returned to Athens in fall 1944, where their second child, Victor, was born on November 30, 1944. Several members of Jacob’s family in Heraklion were killed by the Germans during the war. Claire’s father and her sister Renee had been deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Her father died on the train of a heart attack during transport. Renee survived and came to Athens.

    The Elhai’s returned to Korinthos every summer for vacation after the war. In 1951, the family immigrated to the United States, arriving by the ship, Nea Hellas, in New York on April 30. They lived in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for 6 months, then moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to join Claire’s surviving family. Her mother and remaining brother and sister had previously left Greece and settled in Baltimore. Claire and Jacob had a third child in Baltimore in 1952. Jacob, now known as Jake, died, age 74, in May 1988. Claire, age 83, died in February 1997.
    Elvira Elhai was born on November 26, 1942, in Athens, Greece, to Jacob and Claire Jesurun Elhai. Claire was born on October 5, 1914, in Turkey. Jacob was born on January 17, 1914 in Heraklion, Crete. The couple wed in Athens on April 15, 1940. Her father worked as a barber. The family did not strictly follow religious ritual, but did observe the major Jewish holidays.
    After Greece surrendered to the Axis powers in June 1942, the country was divided into zones of occupation. Athens was part of the German occupied territory. In September 1943, Italy, an Axis member, surrendered to the Allies. Jacob went to the Greek police station and explained that he needed false identity cards that did not identify them as Jewish and the police provided them. Jacob left Athens to find a safe place in the countryside for the family. He settled in Klenis, Kórinthos. There was no barber in the town so he set up a shop. Claire and Elvira joined him there. After a while, they moved to another village, Hiliomidi, because Jacob was concerned about their safety. He again worked as a barber. After the Germans retreated from Greece in September 1944, the family returned to Athens. Claire’s brother Victor was born there on November 30, 1944.
    Several members of Jacob’s family in Heraklion were killed by the Germans during the war. Elvira's grandfather and maternal aunt Renee had been deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Her grandfather died on the train of a heart attack during transport. Renee survived and came to Athens.
    The Elhai’s returned to Korinthos every summer for vacation after the war. In 1951, the family immigrated to the United States, arriving by the ship, Nea Hellas, in New York on April 30. They lived in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for 6 months, then moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to join Claire’s surviving family. Her mother and remaining brother and sister had previously left Greece and settled in Baltimore. Claire and Jacob had a third child in Baltimore in 1952. Jacob (Jake) died, age 74, in May 1988. Claire, age 83, died in February 1997.
    .

    Physical Details

    Language
    Turkish
    Classification
    Household Utensils
    Category
    Cookware
    Object Type
    Pots (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Aluminum, flat bottomed pot with a straight edge. There is a triangular wire hook attached by 2 rivets to a bracket on the side. A stamped emblem and text are located to the left of the hook.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Diameter: 14.875 inches (37.783 cm)
    Materials
    overall : aluminum
    Inscription
    side, stamped : hanger : 3 / (Eagle with spread wings) / ALUMINIUM GARANTI / 36

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The cooking pot was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009 by Elvira Sasson, the daughter of Claire Elhai.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:51:06
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn39146

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